I firmly believe that the state bird for Georgia should be the mosquito. Some of them are as big as birds, for one thing. For another, they are the absolute worst and are everywhere you look during the spring and summer months. You literally cannot go outside without having little red bumps of pure hell all over your body when you return inside. And since we have so much shrubbery (we are officially the city in a forest), we have so many bugs and other pests. To protect your family and your yard, plant these herbs for pest protection — whether you're in Georgia or not.
I love sitting on our back deck and having a nice cold beverage while watching my dogs chew bones in the backyard... for the two weeks a year I can do that without being hauled away by mosquitoes. Wanting to enjoy my back deck for more than two weeks out of the year, while simultaneously not wanting to pollute the Earth with DEET and giving everyone within a 10-mile radius of the spray a headache, I was looking for other options. Besides, did you know that DEET was found to have negative health effects according to a study conducted in the '80s? I know it was only if used on a regular basis, but I'd have to use it every single time I went outside, so I looked to more natural remedies that would actually work.
According to Coulter Lewis, father and founder of non-toxic lawn product brand, Sunday, "The easiest and most natural way to repel pesky bugs like mosquitoes, moths, fleas, flies, and ticks are planting herbs such as basil, mint, lemongrass, lavender, and rosemary." He says that not only are they great at protecting you and your garden from pesky bugs, but they're also delicious and smell lovely.
For what it's worth, I and others I know have had especially good luck with lemongrass, and the reason for that is pretty cool. According to Mother Nature Network (MNN), the natural oil in lemongrass is citronella. Like those candles I'm sure you've seen at hardware stores.
Additionally, MNN noted that lavender is great for repelling not only mosquitoes, but fleas, flies, and moths; basil works for house flies and mosquitoes; and rosemary is great for mosquitoes and keeping other insects from eating not only you, but your garden. Other herbs to help with your garden — if you want to grow truly organic pesticide-free produce — include bay leaves, chives, dill, lemon balm, oregano, fennel, parsley, and thyme. "Everyone deserves to have produce that wasn’t doused in harmful chemicals and was grown with the environment in mind," Lewis says.
So to make your backyard a summer paradise free from bugs without killing the planet (and your brain cells, potentially), plant some basil, mint, lemongrass, lavender, or rosemary. You'll not only have a bug-free summer, but perhaps an even tastier one because you'll also have the potential to create some delicious-tasting food with all of these herbs you're growing. Enjoy.